San Bernadino authorities arrested Robert Demeco Davis, 34, of San Bernadino for charges including murder of his girlfriend’s 22 month old toddler. The name of the deceased child has not been released pending notification of the biological father of the deceased toddler.
News stories report that Davis’s girlfriend had left the toddler with her teenage son. Her son left the toddler in the care of Davis when Davis arrived to the apartment. Allegedly, Davis beat the child around 5:30 on the evening of August 4, 2008. Authorities were alerted around 7:45. The toddler died at 11:53 p.m. at Loma Linda University Medical Center from a head injury.
Allegedly, Davis does have a violent criminal history.
There is no single factor has been identified as the cause of child abuse. In general, there is an interaction of multiple risk factors in the environment that place children at risk to be victims of abuse. Researchers have identified abusive parents or caregivers as having risk factors such as substance abuse, low self-esteem, mental or physical disability, depression, history of abuse as a child, poor coping skills, poor impulse control, history of violent behavior or history of being raised in a group setting with no positive parental role.
All children are potential victims of child abuse, but some factors increase the risk for a child to be abused. Children with disabilities are twice as likely to be emotionally, physically or sexually abused. Children with behavioral disorders that manifest as aggression or temper tantrums are at an increased risk to be abused. Males with mental disabilities tend to be victims of sexual assault at an older age then other children.
Factors may be present that cause adults and their infants and children to be more at risk for abusive events such as SBS. Infants at risk include infants less than one year age, male infants, infants of twin or multiple births, premature infants, infants with health problems and infants that have inconsolable crying spells. Adults at risk for committing abusive acts include adults with poor coping skills, unrealistic expectations, substance abuse, former victims of abuse and adults with mental health problems. Environmental factors that usually culminate in abusive events include social isolation, dysfunctional family characteristics and socio-economic burdens. However, SBS may occur in any setting and it is important to know the signs and symptoms that may be present in an infant or child that may be a victim of SBS.